Friday, November 2, 2018

October 2018: Islamic State Expanding Operations In Iraq

(Iraqi News)

The Islamic State appeared to enter into a new phase of its rebuilding in October 2018. First, during the winter of 2017 the group’s leadership told its followers to revert to an insurgency because it could no longer take the losses from conventional confrontations with the Iraqi forces and Coalition air strikes. There was then a period of residual violence during this transition until violence finally dipped. In the spring of 2018 incidents levelled off. Since then IS has reconstituted itself in central Iraq, controlling rural areas of Diyala, Kirkuk and Salahaddin. Now in the fall two new trends have begun. First, there has been renewed efforts at mass casualty bombings. Second, there are more sophisticated attacks in Anbar and Ninewa, and increased activity in Baghdad.

There were 222 incidents in Iraq reported in the media in October. That averaged out to 7.1 incidents per day. Since May there have been roughly 7 incidents per day.

Security Incidents In Iraq By Province Sep-Oct 2018
Province
September
October
Anbar
17
16
Babil
5
5
Baghdad
65
65
Basra
4
3
Diyala
36
35
Dohuk
-
2
Irbil
1
-
Kirkuk
31
48
KRG
11
7
Ninewa
18
25
Salahaddin
21
16

Casualties In Iraq By Province Sep-Oct 2018
Province
September
October
Anbar
52 (15 K, 37 W)
43 (24 K, 19 W)
Babil
9 (4 K, 5 W)
2 (2 W)
Baghdad
101 (31 K, 70 W)
91 (38 K, 53 W)
Basra
2 (1 K, 1 W)
3 (3 K)
Diyala
50 (17 K, 33 W)
46 (17 K, 29 W)
Dohuk
-
12 (12 K)
Irbil
3 (3 K)
-
Kirkuk
60 (33 K, 27 W)
84 (25 K, 59 W)
KRG
38 (34 K, 4 W)
73 (73 K)
Ninewa
98 (77 K, 21 W)
228 (179 K, 49 W)
Salahaddin
100 (24 K, 76 W)
58 (12 K, 46 W)

There were 383 deaths recorded and 257 wounded. 8 Hashd al-Shaabi, 31 Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), 39 Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 305 civilians lost their lives, while 15 Hashd, 34 ISF, and 208 civilians were injured. Ninewa led the country in casualties with 228, but that was because 136 bodies were found there. More than a year after the province was liberated mass graves are still being discovered and remains found in the rubble of west Mosul. Kurdistan with 73 killed led the country in violent deaths, and Baghdad had the most casualties during the month with 91.

Central Iraq is the main base for IS now. Violence there increased during the summer, but has since dipped. In Diyala for example, incidents went from 1.7 per day in June down to 1.1 in October. Likewise in Salahaddin there were 1.4 incidents in June, down to just 0.5 in October. Kirkuk did see an increase last month with an average of 1.5 per day, the most since June’s 1.8. The number of incidents isn’t as important as the types and locations. IS is active in all the rural areas of Diyala, southern Kirkuk, and northern and central Salahaddin. There are regular attacks on towns, civilians and officials are being kidnapped, taxes are being collected and retaliation for those that refuse to pay, and regular gun battles. There are more and more reports of IS members walking around in the open during the day showing the level of control they have established. The government has little presence in many of these areas, and the constant security operations are completely ineffective as the militants simply slip away while they are in progress, and return when they are done. IS now has a level of control in these areas that it is expanding outwards.

Islamic State Activity in Central Iraq 2018
Diyala
Shootings
(Totals)
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
(Totals)
Gun Battles
Attacks on Checkpoints
Attacks on Mukhtars/
Sheikhs
Kidnappings
Attacks on Towns
Mortars
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
Jan
20
24
2
7
-
1
-
6
1
1
Feb
14
13
4
3
-
-
-
-
1
-
Mar
29
21
14
5
1
2
1
5
-
-
Apr
13
18
2
2
-
-
-
2
-
-
May
11
11
1
3
1
1
3
4
1
-
Jun
32
17
5
12
-
1
5
4
-
-
Jul
20
19
2
3
-
2
3
1
-
-
Aug
17
18
2
2
1
1
3
3
-
-
Sep
20
12
5
1
-
2
5
5
-
-
Oct
11
22
2
-
-
1
-
4
-
-

Kirkuk
Shootings
(Totals)
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
(Totals)
Gun Battles
Attacks on Checkpoints
Attacks on Mukhtars/
Sheikhs
Kidnappings
Attacks on Towns
Mortars/
Rockets
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
Jan
13
6
4
1
-
-
-
3
3
1
Feb
21
10
7
3
-
-
-
4
1
-
Mar
22
15
11
2
-
2
1
3
1
1
Apr
18
4
3
1
-
-
8
1
-
1
May
14
28
2
-
2
1
1
4
4
-
Jun
25
12
4
2
-
2
10
6
-
-
Jul
7
20
1
2
-
-
-
-
-
1
Aug
7
20
2
1
2
-
-
2
-
1
Sep
14
25
2
2
1
3
4
2
-
-
Oct
13
28
2
4
2
1
4
3
-
1

Salahaddin
Shootings
(Totals)
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
(Totals)
Gun Battles
Attacks on Checkpoints
Attacks on Mukhtars/
Sheikhs
Kidnappings
Attacks on Towns
Mortars/
Rockets
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
Jan
11
9
8
-
-
-
-
2
-
1
Feb
7
5
1
1
-
2
-
-
-
-
Mar
23
8
9
2
-
3
-
-
1
-
Apr
6
8
2
2
-
-
-
-
1
-
May
14
10
10
1
1
-
-
1
1
-
Jun
15
15
4
1
-
7
-
-
-
1
Jul
9
6
-
4
-
-
2
1
1
-
Aug
9
15
1
3
-
1
1
1
1
-
Sep
5
10
1
1
-
-
1
1
3
1
Oct
2
9
1
-
-
1
-
1
1
-
(Gun Battles, Attacks on Checkpoints, Attacks on Mukhtars, Attacks on Towns are all subsets of the total number of shootings and IEDs/Sticky Bombs reported)

Anbar and Ninewa are two new areas IS has become more active. The number of incidents in the two governorates remains very low. In Anbar for instance, there has been less than one incident per day since October 2017 with just 0.5 per day in October. Likewise, there has been less than one incident per day in Ninewa since March 2018. In October there was 0.8. What is different is the type of attacks. Both have seen renewed suicide and car bombings. There have been 5 such attacks in Anbar since August and 2 in Ninewa since September. As in central Iraq, the militants are returning to attacking towns and kidnappings, and confronting the local security forces.

Islamic State Activity in Anbar 2018
Anbar
Shootings
(Totals)
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
(Totals)
Gun Battles
Attacks on Checkpoints
Attacks on Mukhtars/
Sheikhs
Kidnappings
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
Jun
4
3
2
-
-
1
-
-
Jul
3
5
1
-
-
-
-
-
Aug
4
4
2
1
-
-
-
1
Sep
3
8
-
-
-
-
2
-
Oct
9
5
3
1
1
2
1
1

Islamic State Activity in Ninewa 2018
Ninewa
Shootings
(Totals)
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
(Totals)
Gun Battles
Attacks on Checkpoints
Attacks on Mukhtars/
Sheikhs
Kidnappings
Attacks on Towns
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
Jun
7
2
3
1
-
-
-
-
-
Jul
9
9
1
1
1
1
2
-
-
Aug
9
9
2
-
-
1
1
-
-
Sep
8
3
2
-
-
-
-
1
-
Oct
13
5
-
1
-
1
-
-
1
(Gun Battles, Attacks on Checkpoints, Attacks on Mukhtars, Attacks on Towns are all subsets of the total number of shootings and IEDs/Sticky Bombs reported)

The third area IS is returning to is Baghdad. For four of the last five months the capital province has led the country in incidents. In September and October there were an average of 2 incidents per day. This is a very low number given how big Baghdad city is, but that is far more than any other governorate. The attacks have also moved from the outlying towns in the north and south to the periphery of the city itself. These are almost all shootings, IEDs and sticky bombs, but the fact that IS back into the largest urban area of the country is significant in itself.

Monthly Security Incidents in Iraq by Province Jun-Oct 2018

Baghdad
Anbar
Diyala
Kirkuk
Ninewa
Salahaddin
Jun
33
13
51
56
12
42
Jul
49
8
46
37
29
23
Aug
58
11
44
32
27
25
Sep
65
17
36
31
18
21
Oct
65
16
35
48
25
16
(Red figure signifies highest number of incidents during the month)

A final sign that IS is entering a new phase is the number of suicide and car bombs has gone back up. In January, when the militants were still transitioning there were 13 mass casualty bombings. That then dropped for the next three months before going back up to 8 in May. There was another drop off from June to August, but then they have increased again in September with 8 and 5 in October. Kirkuk is the only urban area where IS is able to carry out these attacks. As its infiltration into Baghdad shows, it is likely aiming to hit other cities in the future.

Suicide-Car Bombs In Iraq 2018
Month
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
Totals
Jan
7
(1- Diyala,
3 – Baghdad,
3 - Kirkuk)
6
(1- Anbar,
1 – Diyala,
1 – Kirkuk,
1 – Salahaddin,
2 - Babil)
13
Feb
4
(1 – Anbar
1 – Diyala
1 – Kirkuk
1 - Ninewa)
-
4
Mar
2
(1 – Kirkuk
1 - Salahaddin)
1
(1 – Kirkuk)
3
Apr
4
(1 - Salahaddin
3 – Anbar)
1
(1 – Kirkuk)
5
May
8
(1 – Diyala
1 - Salahaddin)
2 – Baghdad
4 - Kirkuk)
-
8
Jun

1
(1 – Salahaddin)
1
Jul
1
(1 – Salahaddin)
1
(1 – Kirkuk)
2
Aug
1
(1 – Salahaddin)
2
(1 – Anbar,
1 – Kirkuk)
3
Sep
6
(1 – Ninewa)
2 – Anbar
3 – Salahaddin)
2
(1 – Kirkuk
1 – Salahaddin)
8
Oct
2
(1 - Anbar
1 – Salahaddin)
3
(1 – Anbar
1 – Kirkuk
1 - Ninewa)
5

Turkey is making routine attacks upon the PKK in northern Iraq. During October, 31 PKK members were killed in 7 Turkish air raids. In September 37 from the Workers Party died, and the group attacked the Turks as well killing 1 soldier and wounding 4 others within Iraq. Ankara’s incursion into Kurdistan has ended, but it has maintained pressure on the group with constant air strikes.

Security In Iraq 2017-18
Week
Security
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
JAN 2017
719
1,923
4,374
FEB
628
1,891 + 399
2,511 + 1,634
MAR
720
3,504 + 278
3,302 + 2,925
APR
578
2,933
1,955
MAY
528
2,038
1,563
JUN
534
2,038
1,563
JUL
478
1,490
650
AUG
359
1,949
584
SEP
306
728
549
OCT
286
913
865 + 1,700
NOV
296
1,282
425
DEC
261
763
300
Jan 1-7
71
50
66
Jan 8-14
64
62
70
Jan 15-21
68
156
151
Jan 22-28
68
148
66
Jan 29-31
27
23
22
JAN 2018
298
439
(218 Violent
Deaths)
375
Feb 1-7
66
196
67
Feb 8-14
65
63
93
Feb 15-21
59
346
43
Feb 22-28
55
44
72
FEB
245
649
(233 Violent Deaths)
275
Mar 1-7
78
120
84
Mar 8-14
60
84
61
Mar 15-21
67
168
98
Mar 22-28
81
213
61
Mar 29-31
21
26
35
MAR
307
611
(466 Violent Deaths)
339
Apr 1-7
40
174
29
Apr 8-14
64
175
83
Apr 15-21
44
63
72
Apr 22-28
44
62
48
Apr 29-30
12
12
4
APR
204
486
(240 Violent Deaths)
236
May 1-7
51
57
56
May 8-14
56
68
49
May 15-21
39
58
82
May 22-28
51
73
51
May 29-31
21
42
15
MAY
218
298
(273 Violent Deaths)
253
Jun 1-7
55
100
32
Jun 8-14
72
108
88
Jun 15-21
42
83
19
Jun 22-28
52
58
65
Jun 29-30
18
22
14
JUN
239
371
(327 Violent Deaths)
218
Jul 1-7
56
58
91
Jul 8-14
44
57
31
Jul 15-21
54
61
64
Jul 22-28
36
65
21
Jul 29-31
24
26
11
JUL
214
267
(222 Violent Deaths)
218
Aug 1-7
49
57
30
Aug 8-14
47
43
51
Aug 15-21
45
26
45
Aug 22-28
42
29
64
Aug 29-31
33
69
44
AUG
216
224
(209 Violent Deaths)
234
Sep 1-7
45
46
61
Sep 8-14
57
67
127
Sep 15-21
50
93
71
Sep 22-28
47
27
33
Sep 29-30
11
20
29
SEP
210
253
(195 Violent Deaths)
321
Oct 1-7
60
88
94
Oct 8-14
50
169
48
Oct 15-21
56
88
37
Oct 22-28
31
28
54
Oct 29-31
25
10
24
OCT
222
383
(193 Violent Deaths)
257

Violence By Province October, 2018
Province
Violence
Anbar
16 Incidents
24 Killed
2 Hashd
8 ISF
14 Civilians
19 Wounded
4 ISF
15 Civilians

9 Shootings
4 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
2 Sound Bombs Dismantled
1 Suicide Motorcycle Bomb
1 Car Bomb
Babil
5 Incidents
2 Wounded
2 Hashd

1 IED
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Grenades
2 Mortars
Baghdad
65 Incidents
38 Killed
1 ISF
37 Civilians
53 Wounded
2 ISF
51 Civilians

26 Shootings
13 IEDs
8 Sticky Bombs
2 Sound Bombs
2 Grenades
8 Suicide Bombers Killed
Basra
3 Incidents
3 Killed
3 Civilians
Diyala
35 Incidents
17 Killed
2 Hashd
2 ISF
13 Civilians
29 Wounded
2 ISF
7 Hashd
20 Civilians

11 Shootings
18 IEDs
4 Sound Bombs
4 Mortars
2 Suicide Bombers Killed
Dohuk
2 Incidents
12 Killed
12 PKK

2 Turkish Air Strikes
Kirkuk
48 Incidents
25 Killed
3 Hashd
9 ISF
13 Civilians
59 Wounded
4 Hashd
23 ISF
32 Civilians

13 Shootings
28 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
2 Mortars
1 Rockets
7 Suicide Bombers Killed
1 Car Bomb Destroyed
Kurdistan
7 Incidents
73 Killed
19 PKK
54 Civilians

5 Turkish Air Strikes
Ninewa
25 Incidents
179 Killed
1 Hashd
13 ISF
163 Civilians
49 Wounded
1 ISF
1 Hashd
47 Civilians

13 Shootings
5 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
Salahaddin
16 Incidents
12 Killed
6 Civilians
6 ISF
46 Wounded
1 Hashd
2 ISF
43 Civilians

2 Shootings
8 IEDs
1 Sticky Bombs
1 Suicide Bombers
1 Mortar
1 Suicide Car Bomb Stopped

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